The ba­nal looks beau­ti­ful in the poetic 'Paterson'

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Wak­ing up. Mak­ing cof­fee. Walk­ing to work. Talk­ing to co­work­ers. Com­ing home. Walk­ing the dog. Go­ing to the bar. Re­peat­ing it all again. Th­ese are the mun­dane ac­tiv­i­ties Jim Jar­musch's "Paterson " is made of. While they're the things most of us do with­out much thought, and of­ten with a lit­tle dread, in "Paterson," they're ev­ery­thing, they're life and they're beau­ti­ful. This quiet sen­ti­men­tal­ity is be­cause Jar­musch is show­ing us this world through the eyes of a peculiar man named Paterson (a sub­tle, won­der­ful Adam Driver), a bus-driv­ing poet in Paterson, New Jersey, who fa­vors Wil­liam Car­los Wil­liams, au­thor of the epic poem "Paterson." He lives with a beau­ti­ful woman, Laura (Gol­shifteh Fara­hani), and he goes about his life gen­tly, of­ten let­ting his poems take over his thoughts. As he walks through the brick-lined, in­dus­trial land­scape of Paterson, we hear him work­ing out a poem in his head. "We have plenty of matches in our house ... we have plenty of matches in our house ..." He writes it down when he can and ex­pands from there.

This hap­pens of­ten, but in­stead of just au­dio, Jar­musch scrib­bles Paterson's verses across the screen, dar­ing us to re­ally con­sider the words. This film isn't some quirky gim­mick about a blue col­lar fel­low with an artist's heart; it's deeply sin­cere and life­like. Part of that is be­cause Paterson's world is full of char­ac­ters real-ish seem­ing peo­ple who come in and out of his life. He seems to de­light in the ran­dom­ness. When Paterson drives, he takes in his en­vi­ron­ment, lis­ten­ing and en­joy­ing the con­ver­sa­tions be­tween the two kids whose feet don't touch the floor of the bus talk­ing about Ru­bin "Hur­ri­cane" Carter, who is from Paterson and "looks like Den­zel Wash­ing­ton," or the men talk­ing about girls and ob­vi­ously ly­ing to each other but both accepting the other's delu­sions, or even the teens (who some view­ers might rec­og­nize as the kids from "Moon­rise King­dom") talk­ing about an­ar­chy. He also tol­er­ates his per­pet­u­ally ag­grieved co-worker who al­ways has a laun­dry list of woes to rat­tle off when pre­sented with a cour­tesy "how are you?" Sort of mag­i­cal

At home, he lis­tens at­ten­tively to Laura, who is some­times ridicu­lous, but end­lessly sup­port­ive of him. When he wakes up, peace­fully and with­out an alarm, she turns to him and says some­thing sweet. Dur­ing the day, she bor­ders on ec­cen­tric, paint­ing ev­ery­thing in their house shades of black and white. One day she tells him with the ut­most sin­cer­ity that she's go­ing to be in the cup­cake busi­ness and the next, she's or­der­ing a gui­tar on­line be­cause she also might just be­come a fa­mous coun­try star like Patsy Cline or Tammy Wynette. Paterson looks at her lov­ingly and nods and goes along with her whims and her petu­lant dog be­cause it's love, af­ter all.

It's at the corner bar where Paterson re­ally comes to life, though. The bar is that sort of mag­i­cal, per­fect dive that's homey and dark and pleas­ant and has jazz play­ing faintly in the back­ground while pa­trons speak and drink qui­etly and play chess and just un­wind. This place likely does not ex­ist, but in Paterson's Paterson it might as well. He talks to the owner about the town's fa­mous alumni, like Lou Costello, and smiles and laughs more than he does un­der any other cir­cum­stances. But he never comes up with poems at the bar. It's his break, too.

The film has a some­what med­i­ta­tive ef­fect, which, I imag­ine for some, might also be a seda­tive on. That's not a jab, but this is not a pas­sive, turn your brain off time at the movies. And, if you let it, it might just be one that leaves you re­con­sid­er­ing what­ever awaits you af­ter the film, whether it's tak­ing out the garbage, shov­el­ing the drive­way or what­ever un­sung ba­nal­i­ties your fu­ture holds. "Paterson," a Bleecker Street/Ama­zon Stu­dios re­lease, is rated R by the Mo­tion Pic­ture As­so­ci­a­tion of Amer­ica for "some lan­guage." Run­ning time: 118 min­utes. Three and a half stars out of four.

— AP

This im­age re­leased by Ama­zon Stu­dios & Bleecker Street shows Adam Driver, left, and Gol­shifteh Fara­hani in a scene from, "Paterson."

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